"Long-term planning" as China does is key to sucess: Ethiopian Airlines CEO

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-25 01:34:35|Editor: yan
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GENEVA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The CEO of the largest and fastest growing airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines, on Wednesday attributed the success and connectivity of his company to long-term planning as China does.

The CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam, was speaking at the Oct. 22-26 World Investment Forum hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) here at a session titled "Investment in a new era of industrialization".

"Long-term thinking and long-term planning is very important for countries in Africa to have success, such as they have had in China and Asian countries," said GebreMariam discussing the airline.

He said the State-owned, digitally modern airline is "a case study for the conference" as trade and investment require air connectivity so "air connectivity is essential."

"At Ethiopian Airlines we are implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025," he said.

GebreMariam said Ethiopian is "a pan-African airline" and the largest airline in the African continent with a 110-strong "modern and young fleet" connecting to 116 destinations worldwide, 22 in Ethiopia, with hubs in East, West, and Southern Africa.

"If we talk about government ownership being a problem for success, I don't think that is true because Ethiopian Airlines defies that belief," he said.

"If we think African companies cannot compete on the global stage, again that is not so," GebreMariam said.

"Ethiopian Airlines is competing on the global stage succeeding with the mega-carriers of the world," he said, by effectively using digital technology.

Conference moderator and UNCTAD Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi, cited Jack Ma, Alibaba co-founder and chairman at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Forum last month, saying that in the next 10 years, 90 percent of the world's trade is going to be electronic commerce.

Kituyi noted that 50 percent of the world is still not connected to the internet and "what is that we do to include the other 50 percent?"

"If you look at the content of development bank financing, including the World Bank, only 1 percent of its financing goes to the ICT (Information and communications technology) sector and out that 1 percent, only 4 percent goes to policy development and ICT related services," said the UNCTAD chief.

That is a challenge for global political resourcing of digital infrastructure, said Kituyi.